The Czech Republic will face Spain, Turkey and Croatia in the group stage of football's European Championship in France next summer. Pavel Vrba's team take on the holders Spain in their opening game in Toulouse on June 13. They then play Croatia in St. Etienne and Turkey in Lens. The Czechs have qualified for the tournament for the sixth time in a row.
In football, in the Europa League Slovan Liberec lost 2:4 at home to Olympique Marseille at home on Thursday night. The result means the north Bohemian club ended in third place in the group and fail to progress in the competition. Sparta Prague, who had already qualified for the next stage, won 3:1 against Nicosia and Viktoria Plzeň drew 3:3 with Villareal.
In football, Czech national coach Pavel Vrba has denied rumours that he was weighing up quitting his job in the near future. Speculation about his future surfaced in the daily Sport, which said Vrba has been approached with offers from Russian clubs after the European Championships conclude in 2016. Chairman of the Czech football association Miroslav Pelta said that he hoped Vrba would stay on. He did, however reveal that a clause in Vrba’s contract could allow him to quit before the end of this current two year contract.
Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech and his Arsenal team have made a miraculous comeback in the Champions League. Čech kept a clean sheet in the 3:0 win over Olympiakos Pireus which ensured the London club’s qualification for the next round of the competition. Arsenal needed to win the game with at least a two goal margin over their rivals for the second spot in the group. Arsenal’s progression in the competition looked almost impossible at one stage after a disastrous debut in the group games.
Viktoria Plzeň have entered the winter break in Czech soccer’s top flight as league leaders after beating Jablonec 1:0 on Monday night. That result meant they could not be overtaken by reigning champions Sparta Prague, who came from behind to overcome Brno 2:1. The top two still have one Europa League game each before Christmas; Sparta have already reached the next stage but Plzeň cannot advance in the competition.
In Sports News this Monday: Czech mixed biathlon relay team come third in first event of season – coach Rybář says competition will be high this time out; Šárka Strachová enjoys best start to slalom World Cup in six years; Extraliga strugglers (and champions) Litvínov sack assistant coach; and Sparta Prague FC have now lost over CZK 1 billion since owner took over.
Petr Čech remains one match shy of tying the clean sheet record set by David James in the Premier League. On Sunday, his club Arsenal appeared to be on its way against Norwich City, going up 1:0 on a chip from Mesut Ozil. But the Canaries tied the match before half-time. The game ended 1:1. Čech thanked fans for traveling to the away game and tried to take positives from the result in the social media. Arsenal are fourth in the standings.
The Czech football club Sparta will continue in the Europa League in the spring, after defeating the Greek club Asteras Tripolis 1:0 in Prague on Thursday night. The same evening, Viktoria Pilsen lost a chance to advance after losing 2:1 to Dinamo Minsk. Liberec also lost – 2:1 – to the Portuguese team Bragga but still has a chance to advance: the team needs to win its final group stage match against Marseille.
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